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Understanding and Implementing ConvertKit Automation Rules

If you’re an online business owner, you know that building relationships with your audience is crucial. One of the best ways to do that is through email marketing. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right platform. I love using ConvertKit – it’s user-friendly, offers lots of usefull features, and can help you automate your business growth. 

If you’re looking for a way to create personalized experiences for your subscribers without spending hours doing manual work, you’ll love ConvertKit’s Automation Rules and Visual Automations. These tools are amazing for crafting custom subscriber journeys that save you time and effort.   Let’s take a closer look at what Automation Rules are, how they differ from Visual Automations, and how you can use them to create amazing experiences for your subscribers.

What Are Automation Rules?

Also known as just “Rules,” Automation Rules can save you time and effort by automatically performing certain actions based on specific conditions. With Convertkit, you can easily create automation rules using a simple “if this, then that” logic. 

For example, you can set up a rule that automatically adds a new subscriber to a specific tag when they opt-in to your website. Or, you could create a rule that adds a tag to a subscriber when they click on a particular link in one of your emails. Convertkit offers several triggers to start your Rule, including “subscribes to a form,” “completes a sequence’” and “clicks a link.”  Available actions include “subscribe to a form,” “subscribe to a sequence,” “add tag,” and “set custom field.”

ConvertKit Automation Rules Triggers and Actions


What’s great about Convertkit is that you can set up multiple triggers and actions within a single rule, so that subscribers who pass through any of the trigger events will automatically follow all of the actions. This makes it easy to streamline your workflows and keep your subscribers engaged with your content.

Use Cases for Automation Rules

There are plenty of ways to use Automation Rules, but here are a couple of ideas to get you started. 

1- If you offer a freebie, let’s say it’s called Freebie 1, and you provide different ways for subscribers to opt in, like Form A, Form B, and Form C, it’s a good idea to tag those subscribers who opt into Freebie 1, no matter which forms they use. 

By doing this, you can easily keep track of those subscribers who opted into Freebie 1 and target them with specific messages or offers. 

So, all you need to do is set up triggers such as “Subscribes to Form A,” “Subscribes to Form B,” and “Subscribes to Form C,” and add an action to “Add Tag: Opted In_Freebie 1.” 

This way, you can make sure that all your subscribers who opt-in to Freebie 1 are tagged, and you can target them effectively in future campaigns.

ConvertKit Automation Rule: multiple forms to tag


2- Do you have a promotion coming up, but want to give your subscribers the option to opt out of a specific sales sequence without unsubscribing from your emails altogether? That’s a great way to keep your email list engaged and intact. 

All you need to do is create an automation rule that is triggered by a link click and the action is an unsubscribe from a specific sequence. When creating the rule, you’ll specify the link name and sequence name. 

In your email sequence for the specific offer, simply add a line that says something like, “Not interested in hearing about this offer, but want to stay connected? Just click here.” Make sure to hyperlink the “Just click here” to the “clicks a link” trigger, and they will be removed from the specific sequence.

This way, you won’t lose valuable leads who are just not interested in that particular offer.



3- Did you know that you can make your email marketing more effective by separating and targeting specific segments of your subscribers with Automation Rules? For example, if you’re a travel agent offering Disney and beach vacations, you could create separate email sequences to introduce subscribers to those specialties.

To get started, you can create a rule that when a subscriber clicks on a link indicating their interest, they’ll automatically be added to the appropriate sequence. For instance, if they click on “interested in Disney,” they can be added to the “Loves Disney” tag and subscribed to the “Disney Intro” sequence. Similarly, if they click on “interested in beaches,” they can be added to the “Loves Beaches” tag and subscribed to the “Beaches Intro” sequence.

To make it even more user-friendly, you could ask new subscribers which type of vacation they’re interested in when they sign up. This way, you can automatically deliver the right sequence based on their specific interests.

How Are Automation Rules Different From Visual Automations?

Rules and Automations can help you save time and effort while delivering personalized experiences to your subscribers. Rules are typically used for immediate actions based on specific conditions, while Automations are more suited for complex, long-term workflows.  


While Rules create one-step “trigger, then action,” Automations are a much more robust and flexible way to build your subscriber’s pathway.  Automations can help you build customized funnels for your subscribers to create a personalized experience. You can create a series of events that are triggered by specific actions or conditions. Automations allow you to build funnels based on tags added or removed, products purchased, time delays, email opens, and other advanced filters. You can even include more than one email sequence and trigger them by more than one event.


Because of their flexibility, you will most often choose Automations over Rules. However, when using link triggers, then Rules are the way to go since that is not a function available in Automations. 

Tips for Using Automation Rules in ConvertKit

Just keep in mind that Rules only apply to subscribers who go through the trigger after the rule is created. This means that the Rule won’t be able to work retroactively. 

The good news is that Rules are flexible and can be enabled or disabled whenever you need to. Plus, you’ll be able to view the history of each Rule once subscribers go through it, giving you the insights you need to make adjustments.

By leveraging both Rules and Automations, you can create a comprehensive email marketing strategy. For example, you can use Rules to tag subscribers based on their interests, and then use Automations to provide personalized content and offers based on those tags.

Remember to always consider your subscribers’ preferences and provide them with valuable content. This will help you build trust and credibility with your subscribers, which can lead to higher conversion rates. 

If you’re new to ConvertKit, don’t worry – it’s easy to get started. Join the hundreds of students in my ConvertKit Quickstart course.  Inside ConvertKit Quickstart, you’ll find step-by-step tutorials that will guide you through the entire process of setting up and optimizing your ConvertKit account, ensuring you have all the tools and knowledge you need to create engaging email campaigns that resonate with your audience.

Then you can start experimenting with Rules and Automations to create an awesome email experience for your subscribers. Start small with simple rule-based actions, and then gradually work your way up to more advanced workflows. With a little bit of experimentation and creativity, you’ll be able to create an email strategy that your subscribers will love.

Click here to learn more about ConvertKit Quickstart.